One man’s Reader’s Digest version of why I am a Christian

JP: I thought this was a good read (see caveat below the blockquote).

Answering the Atheists – A Reader’s Digest version of why I am a Christian

Excerpts:

Let’s face it: Atheism is in. Not since Nietzsche have disbelievers enjoyed such a ready public reception to their godless message—and such near-miraculous royalties. But even that hasn’t put them in a good mood. Snaps Christopher Hitchens, who wrote God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (although not, presumably, the pronouncements of atheists), “Many of the teachings of Christianity are, as well as being incredible and mythical, immoral.” A feuding Richard Dawkins suggests that believers “just shut up.” Apparently, they didn’t get the tolerance memo.

But remembering Bertrand Russell’s famous essay, “Why I Am Not a Christian,” here is a Reader’s Digest version of why I am.

  1. Creation: The universe, far from being a howling wasteland indifferent to our existence, appears to be finely tuned … to support life on this planet.
  2. Beauty: Beethoven’s Ninth, a snowflake, the sweet smell of a baby who has been sleeping, and a sunset beyond the dunes of Lake Michigan all point to a magnificent and loving Creator.
  3. New Testament reliability: … Scholar F. F. Bruce said, “The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar.”
  4. Scripture: Unlike other religious texts, the Bible gives us the good, the bad, and the ugly of its heroes: Abraham, Jacob, David, and Peter among them. Further, Scripture’s message rings true.
  5. Jesus: Christ’s life and teachings are unparalleled in world history, as any Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim—or atheist—worth his salt will admit. Napoleon reportedly said, “I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religions the distance of infinity.”
  6. The trilemma: C.S. Lewis, commenting on Christ’s claim to divinity, said: “You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
  7. Resurrection: After the crucifixion, Jesus’ tomb was found empty. His formerly despondent disciples then turned the Roman world upside down with the message that Christ had conquered death. And they were willing to die for it. The best explanation, according to N. T. Wright and other scholars, is that Christ rose from the dead.
  8. Testimonies: While many Christians have behaved badly, Christ specializes in turning sinners around. What other faith can boast of a Chuck Colson? A John Newton? A William Wilberforce? Then there are the innumerable soup kitchens, universities, hospitals, and orphanages founded to the glory of Christ.
  9. My experience: Finally, as a forgiven sinner, I testify to an imperfect yet growing sense of God’s peace, presence, and provision since receiving Christ more than a quarter-century ago. Despite occasional setbacks, my faith has deepened and strengthened, whatever life brings.

Caveat: I do not fully endorse every aspect of this article: for example, the author’s comment about the world being an “estimated 13.7 billion years” old. I personally am an young earth creationist.

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